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Zuari group, led by Saroj Poddar made an open voluntary offer to acquire 25.9% stake in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers (MCFL) for Rs.282.19 crores. A move aimed at taking control over Vijay Mallya’s UB group.

Currently, UB group has 21.97% stake in MCFL, while Zuari group and Deepak Fertilisers have 16.47 per cent and 31.25 per cent stakes respectively, in the MCFL.

Kolkata-based Zuari group has been competing with Pune-based Deepak Fertilisers for taking control of the MCFL, since July last year.

The ‘voluntary’ open offer by Zuari group comes more than a month after the mandatory open offers by Deepak Fertilisers and Zuari-UB group combine. Mallya had sided with Zuari group to launch the counter open offer, which opened on October 1 and closed on October 20, to ward off the takeover bid of Deepak Fertilizers.

Zuari group has fixed offer price to Rs 91.92 per share which is at a 6% premium to yesterday’s closing price of Rs 86.15 per share.

In the previous open offer Zuari group has fixed the open offer price at Rs 81.60 per share.

In a filing to the BSE, Zuari group said that this offer to the public shareholders to acquire up to 3.07 crore shares constituting 25.90 per cent of the fully diluted voting equity share capital of MCFL is at “a price of Rs 91.92 per share aggregating to Rs 282.19 crore”.

In the previous open offer, Zuari group was able to buy only 42,424 shares as its offer price was lower than Deepak’s offer price of Rs 93.60 per share. However, Deepak Fertiliser was able to raise its stake in MCFL by about 6 per cent to 31.25 per cent.

The battle for MCFL between Deepak Fertilisers and Zuari Group was triggered in July 2013 when the latter bought about 10 per cent stake in MCFL through open market.

Later, Deepak Fertilisers acquired 24.46 per cent stake in MCFL in one-go in July 2013. After that, Zuari group had increased its stake to 16.43 per cent in the same month.

Deepak Fertilisers further raised its 25.31 per cent stake in MCFL in April 2014, triggering the need for launch of mandatory open offer.

Earlier this week, Mallya resigned as director from MCFL. The company did not give any reason for the resignation of Mallya, who was also the Chairman of MCFL and remains the main promoter.

Yesterday, MCFL had announced appointment of Vijay Mallya’s step-mother Ritu Mallya as a director of the firm with immediate effect.